Movies, masti & magic
Day two of the first Punjabi film fest was a gala affair
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Mohammad Sadiq receives an award from Puran Chand Wadali
Mohammad Sadiq receives an award from Puran Chand Wadali.

Pammi, wife of late Punjabi actor, director and producer Varinder pays floral tributes to him
Pammi, wife of late Punjabi actor, director and producer Varinder pays floral tributes to him.
— Tribune photographs

Amritsar, April 24
The first ever Punjabi film festival dedicated to late Punjabi film producer, director and actor Varinder has gripped the city like anything. People have reacted with full enthusiasm and are not missing any chance to capture these golden moments of Punjabi cinema.

Audience got to watch ‘Waris Shah’, ‘Mahaul Theek Hai’, ‘Jat Jeuna Maur’, ‘Sarpanch’, at Aanamm Cinema and Rise of Khalsa (Punjabi animated) in the Art Gallery and Guru Harkrishan Public School, G T Road today.

The film fest being organised by Sur Saanjh at Sri Guru Harkishan Senior Secondary Public School saw ‘Nanak Nam Jahaz hai’, ‘Chan Pardesi’, ‘Do Lachhia’ and Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Buta Singh at Aanamm Cinema.

Eminent writers, producers, story writers, lyricists, singers, choreographer and comedian were honored for their services to the Punjabi film industry.

The audience will be enthralled by ‘Shaheed Udham Singh’, ‘Laung Da Lishkara’, ‘Jee Aayan Nu, tt Jatta De at the Art Gallery and Guru Harkrishan Public School, G T Road

Chaman Lal Shugal, veteran Punjabi story writer was honoured with lifetime achievement award while Pammi Varinder, wife of late Varinder was honoured with special award for continuing the legacy of her husband. The

Other personalities who were honored by the Sur Saanjh were famous Punjabi story writer Inderjit Hasanpuri, film Producer Director Iqbal Dhillon, Actor Mangal Dhillon, Gurdeep Singh Kadhari, Daljit Kaur, Guggu Gill, Singer Mohammad Sadiq, Gurmeet Bawa Surinder Chinda, Sarabjit Kaur, choreographer Gill Surjeet and Comedian Gurpreet Guggi.

Addressing the gathering after inaugurating the film festival by lighting a lamp Kahan Singh Pannu, Deputy Commissioner, Amritsar, said that there was need to go deep into the causes of the debacle of the Punjabi film industry though various artistes from the state had made a niche for themselves in the Bollywood film industry.

He assured the audience that whatever suggestion they gave for promoting the film industry in the state he would take up the matter with the state government. A 12-minute documentary on the life of deceased actor Varinder was also screened on the occasion.

Giving the brief history of the Punjabi films the anchor Prof Ashwani Kumar Verma, Punjabi University, said that Punjabi language was at 23rd place as 6800 languages were being spoken all over the world. He said there were over 14 crore Punjabi families were living in about 150 countries world wide. He said Shiela was the first ever Punjabi films produced in the year 1936 and more that 370 films have been produced in the 72 years history of Punjab film industry.

Speaking on the occasion Mangal Dhillon, producer actor, said that steps should be taken by the Punjab government if the film industry was to survive in the state. He said if the government in Maharashtra, Karnataka and other states were giving tax soaps and subsidy to their film industries why the Punjab government had not announced the same for promoting the regional language besides promoting rich cultural heritage of Punjab.

Veteran actress Daljit Kaur said that when she stepped into the Punjabi films the producers and directors in Mumbai had asked her to choose the career either in Punjabi of Hindi films.

She said that they reminded her that if she acted in Punjabi films she would not be given a chance to act in Hindi films. She said that as she loved her mother tongue and loved the culture of Punjab she took it as a challenge and acted in about 55 to 60 Punjabi films till now.

Malkit Singh of ‘Gud Nalon Ishq Mitha’ fame said that films with better script should be produced besides promoting the folk lore of the Punjab then only would we be able to create interest in the masses. He further added that it was our duty to leave behind something for generations to come so that they could know what their forefathers have done for the mother tongue and rich cultural heritage of Punjab. He said it was good to see that good films were being produced in the state as the state has come out of the dark clouds of militancy. He said the people want good cinema and it was important for the film producers and the concerned to make films with better scripts which touched the day to day life of he common man.

Though considered to be an important event there was lukewarm response to the festival from the state government and district administration side as Deputy Commissioner and other senior officers of the district administration left the venue soon after the first round of the programme. The organizers could be seen looking for the officials for the presentation of the awards to the veteran artistes. Even the principals of the school had to come to the stage for honoring the film personalities.

The organizers had no control over the seating arrangement as the people had occupied the seats reserved for VVIPs and the organizers could be seen making seating arrangements for the distinguished guests and artistes who arrived late at the function.

Commenting on the noise made by the young enthusiasts various renowned artists of the city were of the view that though it was a commendable step on the part of the organizer Navtej Sandhu who single handedly had organized the film festival but such functions should have been held at some auditorium.

Meanwhile, a souvenir and a VCD dedicated to late Varinder was released on the occasion.



SGPC urged to set up conservation centre to preserve heritage
P K Jaiswar

Amritsar, April 24
Various experts and heritage lovers urged the Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) to set up Guru Ramdass Urban Welfare & Aesthetical Conservation Centre (GURUWACC) comprising of conservationists and heritage experts for renovation or development of historical gurdwaras.

They were speaking on a special function to mark the World Heritage Day organised by the Punjab Heritage and Education Foundation Chandigarh at local Ashoka Sr. Sec. School here.

Prof Manjit Singh, a heritage specialist from Guru Ramdass School of Planning, Guru Nanak Dev University, while stressing said that there was an urgent need to form a comprehensive conservation policy for the upkeep of former princely states of Punjab like Nabha, Sangrur, Patiala, Kapurthala etc having great heritage value.

He also emphasised over preservation of cultural villages like Bhakna, Kotla Sultan Singh, the native place of Mohammed Rafi.

The professor introduced a hitherto unknown name Patthewind (near Jamarai on the west banks of the Beas) which according to him was the native village of Guru Nanak Dev since his father Mehta Kallu belonged to that place and it should be brought on the tourist/pilgrimage map of the district like Pahuwind, Sur Singh, Baserkay, Guru ki Wadali etc.

Dr Charanjit Singh Gumtala, vice-president of the foundation, said that the flag of Maharaja Ranjit Singh at the Maharaja Ranjit Singh National Memorial Hill Park Asron (near Ropar) where he signed a treaty with the British should be protected from planned demolition because it is an important element of Punjab Heritage.

Prof Mohan Singh, former lecturer Khalsa College and project chairman of the foundation reiterated his demand to maintain Amritsar heritage structures like Qila Gobindgarh and Rambagh much on the lines of Lahore heritage which, according to him, enjoyed lavish contributions not only from the state government there but also from international bodies like the World Bank.

Qila Gobindgarh should be converted into a central museum of Punjab, he viewed.

Dr Bikram Singh Ghuman, former Dean GNDU narrated his experiences from Australia where, he said, a citizens including young children, were fully aware of their brief history and culture and took all the care to conserve even the tiniest samples of their heritage.

He stressed upon the need to rewrite Punjab history and also to conserve fast depleting wetlands like Kanjli, Harike etc.

Jagdish Singh, educationist and director of SSSS Institutions, appreciating the initiative of the foundation exhorted young listeners to learn form history and to equip themselves with the ideal virtues taught by our forefathers because whatever they achieved today would acquire heritage value tomorrow.

A painting contest showing heritage structures was organized on the occasion and prizes were given away by Jagdish.



He returns with a smiling heart
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Mohammed Mudassar Bhatti is a relieved man today. Nearly a month ago, the Lahore resident had arrived in the holy city, looking for a treatment for his ailing heart.

Back home, the doctors had diagnosed him with severe artery blockage and recommended a bypass surgery.

However, as the procedurewas complicated and expensive, Bhatti decided to go for a second opinion. Through his Indian contacts, he reached Amritsar’s Escorts Heart and Super Specialty Institute where doctors successfully conducted angioplasty, a less invasive procedure, to set his heart right.

Says Dr Puneet Verma, snior consultant and chief interventionalcardiologist:“Mohammed was suffering from severe blockage of main arteries as a result the angioplasty took nearly 3 hours instead of standard 45-60 minutes. Four medicated stents were inserted in his two main arteries.” Verma said Mohammed was lucky to have escaped a major heart attack. His tests reported him positive for several risk factors common in Asian population, including high cholesterol levels, smoking and excess of lipoprotein.

A poultry farmer by profession, Mohammad said he was struck twice by severe chest pain, the latest being a month ago. “Doctors at Pakistan's Punjab Institute Of Cardiology said I needed a Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting. However, just a day before surgery, I took a chance and contacted my known in India. We secured an appointment with Dr Puneet who after studying the case assured me that an ‘angioplasty’ was possible. He said Dr Puneet sent him his opinion by fax, on the basis of which he was able to get visa. “The doctors in Pakistan had ruled out angioplasty due to multiple blockages. Dr Puneet did not recommend bypass as I was young,” he added.

He further said that easing of visa regime could help people in Pakistan make a choice about their medical treatment. “It will boost confidence and trust between people of both countries besides saving lots of precious lives,” said Bhatti.



City gears up for b-day
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Brij Bedi, president, Citizens Forum, has appealed to the people to lend a helping hand to the new DC and SSP to make the city a prosperous and clean.

He said that these officers should take action against the people who defaced the town with vulgar poster and graffiti.

There is a new hope in the city, which stood vandalised with destruction of heritage, encroachments, defacement, pollution and traffic chaos for the past few decades.

People are enthusiastic to celebrate the district’s 158th anniversary this month.

SSP Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh had pledged to wipe out encroachments from the city.

Some of instant measures, like easing out traffic chaos, have appealed the public at large.

The common man on the street has welcomed the induction of these two officers.

Area around the railway station has been cleared off all the illegal parking and encroachers on the link road have been warned. Special public relations offices have been opened with one female and one male officer where everyone can go and get their problem solved.

The holy city of Amritsar which was established by Guru Ram Dass in Sixteenth Century was established as a district in the year 1849 by the British and L Saunders as its first Deputy Commissioner. The district at that time contained four tehsils, viz Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ajnala and Rayya.

Earlier, Batala too was part of the Amritsar District but was restored to Gurdaspur in 1869 as the arrangement was found to be inconvenient and was objected to by the people.

The villages around Atari were included in the Lahore District up to 1854 when they were added to the Amritsar district during the first regular settlements during the Partition of the country.

Since then the limits of these three tehsils remained substantially the same till the establishing of the Tarn Taran as a 20th district by previous Congress ruled state government last year.



Tightening Screws
Drug peddling : Now, tabs to be kept on cop-smuggler nexus
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Alarmed over the increasing incidents of drug-peddling in the border districts, the Punjab police has decided to keep a tab of those cops suspected to be part of nexus with the drug peddlers.

Talking to The Tribune, Rajpal Minna, IG (Border Zone), said that a concerted effort to cut the supply of narcotics has been recently launched in the area and the police is focusing on the pockets where drug peddlers concentrate and the mode of transport taken by them to supply consignments of drugs.

“The possibility of police personnel working in connivance with the drug peddlers is also being looked into and those suspected of being a part of the nexus are under intensive surveillance. Strict action would be taken against them in case their involvement is established, he said. There is easy money in drug peddling. For instance, a peddler gets upto Rs 10,000 for transporting a packet of heroin to Delhi. Consequently, there is every possibility of a whole nexus working for the trade.

As per the available intelligence reports most of those involved in the illegal trade of drugs are local youth, most of them being school pass-outs,” he said.

Meena added that the police would also take steps to reduce the supply and intake of drugs by launching awareness campaigns through public meetings and seminars in border districts of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur. “Leaflets on the menace of drugs would be distributed in schools so that youngsters don’t fall prey to the peddlers. Platforms of community policing; besides NGOs and religious institutions would be used to spread awareness about the deadly effects of drugs.

The police has also constituted ‘nasha virodhi committees’ in colonies and villages to help people know more about drugs. The counter measures by the police include initiating legal proceedings against the accused, making seizures and following up the upto conviction level.

“The rising crime rate in Amritsar can also be linked to the growing consumption of drugs by youngsters, who end up indulging in robberies, chain snatching and even incidents of rape. It becomes a vicious circle for those hooked on to narcotics,” he said.



Farmer suicides: Book goes to root of problem
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
“Forced Fall - A Case of Punjab Farmers” the book analyses the problem behind farmers’ suicides from different aspects based on data collected from various affected families from three different agro-climatic regions of Punjab.

Written by Dr. Tarvinder Singh Chahal, who is presently working as Honorary Director, Institute of Development and Planning, Amritsar, the book studies the phenomena of suicide among farmers which has spread in every nook and corner of the state.

The book also examines the cropping pattern followed by the farmers, their farm income and employment level, indebtedness prevalent among them, the causes of committing suicides, the vicious circle forced on them, the suggestions to find the way out and the policy to be adopted given in eleven chapters of this manuscript.

The book revealed that the prevalence of suicide among farmers was maximum in the western region (cotton belt) which alone accounted for more the half the number of suicides committed (52 per cent) followed by central region at 29 per cent and sub-mountains region at 19 per cent in the state of Punjab. The suicides were mainly confined to jat sikh community that stands at 81 per cent followed by jat rajput at 5 per cent, jat hindu at 5 per cent, backward classes at 7 per cent and scheduled caste at 2 per cent.

Dr Chahal said that the causes of suicides by farmers were many including family feuds (29), indebtedness (29), harassment by different loan lending and other agencies (27), crop failure (7), drug addiction (7) and alcoholism (3). The book says that farmers fall into a vicious circle where in size of farm is small and size of family is large, prevalence of illiteracy, unemployment and litigation affecting social harmony, rising input costs and poor returns, dependence on unorganised credit leading to indebtedness, increasing family needs, rising social and economics disparity adversely affecting ability to recover, and thus leading to socio-economic pressures reducing psychic resistance among farmers, ultimately resulting in their forced fall costing human life.

The book suggests both short term and long term solutions to the problem wherein political parties, government, banking institutions, farm varsities and department NGOs’, local bodies and other organisations have respective roles to play in providing immediate help, and employment to decreased farm families and take care of rural education, health, finance and economic and social security in the long run.



Zenith 2007: Springdale kids put up a brilliant show
Sanjay Bumbroo
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Springdale Public School held its prize distribution ceremony ‘Zenith 2007’, in which 180 students were awarded for academic brilliance, 58 for sports merit and 20 students got special merit awards which included many international categories.

Chief guest Dhani Ram, an educationalist, compared the vedas and gurbani, telling about the four principles of success, namely, the right choice, hard work, belief in almighty in whatever form, sweet mannerism and humility.

The stage was soon set for the galaxy of stars to be awarded. The holy Sarasvati Vandana soon engulfed the atmosphere into purity and a soothing environment soon with the students praying before the reverend divinity of knowledge. Barundeep mesmerized the audience with a mystic Sufi song.

And when the platform was flooded by students awarded for their performance in national and international fields, the whole atmosphere was infused with pride. Cyber olympiads, Aryabhatta Excellence, International Assessments for Indian schools conducted by the University of New South Wales, Australia and awards by the UN assembly world press journalist award were a few in these prestigious honours given.



Kids have rollicking time
Vibhor Mohan
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Six-year old Manpreet Kaur of Class I and seven-year old Mannan Monga of class II jointly bagged the honour of ‘Best Sportspersons of Year’ at the awards presentation ceremony of Shri Ram Ashram Public school.

Seven other students were awarded for their excellence in their chosen fields. Both the tiny-tot roller skating champs and others were honored by local MLA Anil Joshi who presided as chief guest.

Addressing the students, he exhorted them to mobilise themselves in groups and rid of the problems ailing the holy city. He inspired them to undertake regular drives against growing drug-addiction. He encouraged them to value the city’s rich heritage and be exemplary in inculcating habits of cleanliness among city residents.

Principal Preeti Sharad, read out the achievements of 162, prize winners, in various categories.

The function started with 'ved mantras' depicting 10 incarnations of lord Vishnu including fish, tortoise and lord Ram after the ‘Pralay’ (great destruction on earth).

The audience was regaled with the presentation of ballet based on sound and music and their contribution in varied spheres of life.

It started with the evolution of life and the sound of 'heart-beat' then on to a wider horizon of nature in 'sounds of ocean-waves' and invention of clock 's 'tick-tock' . Besides this it depicted different types of music that influence various emotions like patriotic music, soothing, martial-music, peaceful or rhythmic beats.

The presentation used two groups of classical dancers versus 'mime' artists in symbolic make-up to project the picture of positive and negative, respectively.

It was interesting to note that teachers too participated with an inspiring song "Karam karengey shubh karmon sey, karm bhumi ka maan bhariyegey , mehnat ka fal meetha hota hai yeh sandesh suniyegey (we will do good deeds and enrich our mother earth , hard-work pays is what we will teach all).

Another item on ‘values and ideals’ performed by class -II students brought approving smiles among the audience as tiny tots depicted sharing, caring, the importance of 'sorry-please-thank-you' besides message of cleanliness through interesting examples in daily life.

Others who bagged prizes were 'best academician'--Rachit Gupta, 'best artist' - Sukhmani Batra , 'best speaker'--Abhimanyu Sood. In sports--Vikramjeet Singh, Ashish and Rajat for game "Wushu" and Kashish Handa for 'Gymnastics'.



Stop killings at border, Pak editor asks Kalam
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
In an appeal to the President of India, B.S.Goraya, editor of ‘Punjabi Monitor’ magazine, a six-monthly pamphlet on Sikh shrines in Pakistan, has demanded that youth trying to illegally cross over to Pakistan should not be shot down by the Border Security Force but should be dealt with a humanitarian approach.

The Punjabi Monitor editor has referred to the recent killing of two youth who tried to illegally enter into Pakistan in the Khemkaran sector on April 5.

He said the both countries had an old emotional bonding and those who cannot afford to spend money on passport and visa try to cross the boundary without caring for the legal norms and end up losing their lives.

He added that there has been not a single incident where the BSF has tried to stop somebody illegally crossing the border by shooting on his feet.

The Pakistan magazine editor said it is worth condemning that the security force takes pride in firing shots aimed at killing the intruders instead of stopping them.

A copy of the letter has been sent to the human rights commission of the United Nations.



World Wars: Book throws light on role of Sikhs
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Remembering the contribution made by the Sikhs during the two world wars, a book titled ‘How Europe is indebted to the Sikhs’ penned down by Bhupinder Singh Holland, seeks to reveal little known facts about the two world wars with the help of documents and newspaper cuttings.

Bhupinder Singh lives in the Netherlands, where he works in the accounts department of a company. Born in Amritsar, the writer is an alumni of Khalsa College, from where he graduated with BSc and BEd degrees. He was declared the best soccer player for the 1967-68 term.

The book includes a collection of photographs of Sikh, Dutch, French and Italian soldiers. A whole section is devoted to the history of Sikhs, birth of Sikhism and who are Sikhs penned by Dr Harjinder Singh Dilgeer, National Professor of Sikh Studies.

One observation says people contribute a share of their hard-earned money for ‘langar’ (sacred community kitchen) and try to surpass others in performing service in gurudwara kitchens, cleaning dishes, sweeping floors, washing toilets, serving guests. “Who are these turbaned and bearded selfless people?’ The writer has tried to answer this in his own way.



‘Labourers are better paid than medical interns’

Amritsar, April 24
Students of the Government Medical College have demanded increase of stipend given to interns. In a memorandum submitted to the DRME, the students’ body said the stipend of interns is Rs 2,400 per month and it has not been hiked since 1990. The daily comes out to be Rs 80 per day, which is much lower than what a labourer earns.

“This is the state of medical education in a state which boasts of being one of the richest in the country,” said the document. The students further said the stipend for interns in Delhi is Rs 5,700 per month and in the neighbouring Himachal Pradesh it’s Rs 5,000.

“Though the prices of basic commodities have witnessed a massive increase since 1990 and the cost of medical education has also increased manifold, the stipend of medical students has remained static since then. An increase in stipend would encourage young doctors, “said the students. — TNS



Tech update for surgeons from region
Tribune News Service

Amritsar, April 24
Surgeons from different parts of the region were informed about the latest techniques in anesthesia at the national seminar on ventilation update organised by the Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, in collaboration with Amandeep Hospital at Amritsar Convention Centre.

The seminar was inaugurated by Punjab health and family welfare minister Lakshmi Kanta Chawla, who highlighted the need for updating the knowledge of surgeons with the latest developments in medicine. She said state-of-the-art equipment is of little use without experienced and trained doctors to use them.

Dr Pankaj Soni, organising secretary of the society and Dr Avtar Singh, head surgeon of Amandeep Hospital welcomed the doctors from Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Maharashtra, who had come to take part in the conference.

The eminent doctors elaborated on the latest techniques by which lives of patients can be saved even in cases of severe head injuries and where the patient has had an overdose of drugs.



315 patients examined

Amritsar, April 24
As many as 315 patients were examined for eye and chest diseases at a free camp at Guru Gobind Singh Charitable Trust Hospital, Fairland Colony. The camp was organised by Ravinder Singh of R.S. Rice Mills in memory of Panth Rattan Bhai Jasbir Singh.

Free medicines were given to the patients and blood sugar tests were conducted free of charge.

Baljit Singh Walia said every day free medicines were given to patients after carrying out tests for eye and chest diseases. — OC



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